American Myths and Legends

American Myths and Legends

I propose to record the traditions and achievements of the American people from discovery of our land through founding of our nation to the current dissolution.  In this, there will be something of Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita (From the Founding of the City [Rome]), something of Parson Weems’ fables, something of Plutarch’s Lives, and too, something of our father, Herodotus, without whom we would neither know our names nor know our meaning.

American Myths and Legends, Washington
American Myths and Legends, George Washington. M. Curtis

This first edition of our achievements includes 33 portraits with accompanying songs, anecdotes, typical didactics (birth, death, deeds, et cetera), and framed silhouettes tinctured for prettiness.  I intend pleasure in both reading and seeing.  As you know, we recall pleasures affectionately and I intend our American heroes, myths and legends to be recalled with pleasure in affection, as we recall holidays with family, as we recall notable events, each event edited to suit harmony in the melody of memory.

Then too, we will create statuettes, tondos, and other keepsakes, perhaps seven or nine each year leading to and including our 250-anniversary year, our semiquincentennial (2026).  I yet recall, as few do*, our bicentennial, and I recall that better more honest and wholesome time with regret that I’ve not done more to prevent the dark Progressive shadow that chokes our national life, our personal health, and each immortal soul.  But then I recall that Livy’s Rome, Herodotus’ Athens, and many another civilization fell to ruin, and that from ruin some good arose from the stories, portraits, statuettes and other fragments that survived the fall of civilizations.

American Myths and Legends, Eagle
American Myths and Legends, Emblematic Eagle. M. Curtis

Our fathers’ seeds feed us century into century, millennium into millennium.  History is brief and a single life might stretch from first memory to final imagining.  A mere four compasses of my little life (should I not achieve next year) stretches itself to General Braddock and the 1,600 soldiers mustered on the broad Potomac (a brief stroll from my writing desk) in preparation for battle against our French and Indian adversaries.  You recall the outcome and reverberations of that war.  Stretching into a future yet unfolded … well, we might hope that by remembrance General Braddock’s sacrifice will refresh a yet surviving America.

 

 

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Our American traditions proceed from a time before discovery; our achievement of liberty begins with discovery, extends through 500 virtuous years, and might conclude in the dissolution now underway.  The hour is late.  Americans feel the creeping shadow.  The task of remembrance is necessary if we are to survive.  The American story is large … so great have been our glories, so magnificent our accomplishments, so many are our heroes that we must distill to essentials that we might comprehend the whole.

American Myths and Legends, Liberty
American Myths and Legends, Striding Liberty. M. Curtis

Much of our history can neither be refuted nor affirmed, such is the way of artifact and opinion.  Therefore, I intend to distill stories to essences most American, most true to the ideal, how else to convey beauty, goodness, truth to our ascendents.  We will give close attention to the morals, ethics, and virtues that formed our American heroes in peace, war, and empire, so that we might again know ourselves.

In knowing, we might understand our plunge into vice, and by the nature of what we are, ascend again to virtue.  If we cannot know ourselves, we will cease to be Americans and become some other, lower thing, a thing formed of civic degradation, depravity, and the pursuit of evil.  Our forgetfulness has brought us to wantonness; our licentiousness will bring us to ruin.  By the lessons of heroes, myths and legends, I intend to remind us of ourselves and restore our former greatness, a Christian essence that is the United States of America.  With God’s grace we might yet avoid the final irreparable decay of Christian morals and traditional American virtue.

 

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American Myths and Legends, Eisenhower
American Myths and Legends, Eisenhower statuette, in progress. M. Curtis

Just now I am forming statuettes of General Eisenhower, Striding Liberty striding, and our American Eagle.  Soon, Paul Bunyan, Pocahontas (Mrs. John Rolfe), and Uncle Sam.  Silhouettes are in draft, soon to be tinctured.

I look forward to sharing news and developments of American Myths and Legends (an America 250 project) with you through MichaelJCurtis.com.

 

 

 

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*Approximately half of Americans now alive were alive at the age of memory in 1976, our bicentennial year.

One of nine books nearing completion.  American Heroes, Myths and Legends is not included in the bi-monthly book-release schedule (2024–2026).

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THE STUDIO BOOKS

AMERICAN MYTHS and LEGENDS

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For more on American Myths and Legends, see the 250th section of THE CLASSICAL ARTIST.

For updates, please visit MichaelJCurtis.com.

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American Heroes, Crockett
American Myths and Legends, Bunyan, Pocahantas, Crockett, studies. M. Curtis

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